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Finally, someone has spoken up about the rampant political opportunism surrounding the tsunami relief efforts in Asia.

The U.N. Secretary General, Kofi Annan, pointed out in his own diplomatic way that, as the water recedes, it is quickly being replaced by a flood of foreign dignitaries. As they drop by for a photo op and a quick look around, they are clogging up the airports and delaying the arrival of things like food, water and medical personnel.

Officials (we’re not sure who) say that the dignitaries’ visits “help secure foreign aid”. Like they need more proof that it actually happened.

A spokesperson for Pakistan’s relief team told reporters that the big wigs need to “better co-ordinate their visits” so as not to interfere with the daunting task at hand. I admire his tact, but I have an even better idea: Tell the politicians to rally the support from the home front. Be honest. Tell them that they’re in the way. This is not about votes, or being seen with the right people. It’s about survival, and smiling and shaking hands with the right people simply doesn’t matter.

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